Friday Afternoon Parade at The Citadel

Friday afternoons at The Citadel, more often than not, bring a parade.  It’s a rather hard thing to describe to folks who haven’t seen it, and it’s quite impressive once you have:  the cadets march out from the barracks in their finery, rolling across the great green lawn of the parade deck in steady, even rows to the sounds of bagpipes with a backing of brass and drums.

We don’t attend every parade, since (sadly) even the most impressive of events can get monotonous when reviewed once a week.  We do try to go pretty often, though, as it really is good fun — for us the observers, not the cadet participants — and Samwise really enjoys it a lot.

This afternoon was a pleasant Charleston afternoon, and it was also the Gold Star parade (translation: Dean’s List and Honor Roll), so we attended.  Because it is now attached to my body, I took my iPhone and decided at some point to shoot some pictures and video.  Samwise found a great little nook in this old oak to watch the shindig.  It was a very Tolkienian sort of image to me, so I had to share:

A Hobbit in the Shire.

A Hobbit in the Shire.

And here’s a shot of the cadets all lined up after marching out:

Cadets at Parade Attention.

Cadets at Parade Attention.

Anyway, I wasn’t planning on capturing the parade for posterity, but the iPhone actually didn’t do a bad job of picking up the basic sights and sounds.  Not the ideal piece of equipment for capturing this sort of thing, but pretty amazing for also being a phone, a pocket internet portal, and my portable brain.

I didn’t get any video of the cadets until after they were all lined up on the parade deck and the explosive fun began.  I edited it down to just get the cannon salute they fired off, which is always my favorite part of any parade.  It’s really fun to watch the tourists jump (we do get a lot, of course, coming to see the show), since they have no idea it’s coming.  I’ll note that you’ll see a bit of lens wiggle with each of the blasts.  They were using fully packed charges — something they don’t always do — and the shockwave was pretty darn concussive standing as close as I was:

Next up is a clip from the end of the parade, from a different part of the grounds.  I wanted to try and capture some of the intricacies of the ordered marching, and this seemed like a good bit to show that.  What you’ll see is a couple of companies and the flag group coming to attention and then starting the march around the end of the field in order to pass in front of the review stand.  In the background you can see that review stand in the distance, where other companies are passing by.  I always find the orchestration of the whole thing quite marvelous. Alas that the microphone on the iPhone couldn’t pick up the sound really well: the band and bagpipes are doing a wonderful marching tune the whole time:

Yes, at the end there you might have heard Samwise, who was intent on pointing out that the cadets were “right there!”

That’s not much, of course, and it was crudely done, but perhaps it’ll give you some rough idea about a Citadel parade. Quite a lot of impressive fun, I daresay.


  1. The Hobbit is adorable, as always.

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